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Thor #461: Review

Apr 1993
Jim Starlin, Bruce Zick

Story Name:

Friends and Lovers

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thor #461 Review by (May 6, 2023)
Jim Starlin heads the writing team of himself and Ron Marz again.

Valkyrie is really an embodiment of Thor's madness, who only he can see.

Sif was given the Norn Stones by Karnilla, Queen Of The Norns, in #437 to help her look for the missing Thor (who turned up hidden in Eric Masterson's mind), and she's obviously hung on to them.

Beta Ray Bill is indebted to Sif because she helped him save his people from Surtur's demons (#340).

Bill has been knocked right out of this title and will resurface in Silver Surfer #79,81 (cameos), #82 (helps SS escape from Tyrant) and then the Thor Corps mini-series (with Thunderstrike and future Thor (Dargo Ktor)) followed by his own backup tale in Thor Annual #18 before returning here for #468, Part 1 of the Blood And Thunder crossover which will end the tale of Thor's madness.

Thor and Sif will continue on in this series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thor #461 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Thor has been unsettled in Asgard since he returned from Eric Masterson's mind (#457). Last issue Odin sent him out alone on a Viking spaceship to seek peace among the stars. But when he was underway he was joined by the mysterious new Valkyrie he met briefly in that issue. As she promised she is here to listen to his woes and give him advice. She claims to be his only true friend, and he somehow feels he can trust her. He complains, as last issue to his father, about being fragmented into bits and pieces. She comforts him and they kiss.

Back in Asgard his fiancée Sif wonders how he could have so coldly left her. She thinks he's acting strangely and intends to get to the bottom of it. She could use the Norn Stones to go to him but she fears he wouldn't want to see her. So she'll use them to go see someone else who Thor *will* listen to, someone who owes her a favour.

Meanwhile the duo have parked their ship on a volcanic planetoid where we see the woman restoring her clothing. Thor says she's opened his eyes to how Odin has been using him. And when he stood up for himself his father deemed he needed to be taught humility and saddled him with the identity of crippled Dr Don Blake. Then Odin gave away some of the Thunder God's power to Beta Ray Bill, and later trapped him powerless within Eric Masterson who wielded *his* hammer and might. And he now swears never again to let his father treat him so.

Now we look in on Bill in his mortal Korbinite form. He led his people to New Korbin where they settled. (As seen in Tales Of Asgard within #442 where Sif and Balder found him in his mortal guise. The Korbinite leaders had decreed that he give up his super-id and let other Korbinites try to wield his weapon Stormbreaker. And of course they failed because it has the same enchantment as Mjolnir.) So it's strange that when Sif arrives she asks him what's going on, because a queue of non-Korbinite aliens are now trying their strength. She tells him she needs Beta Ray Bill to ask Thor what's up. So Bill marches over and takes the mallet and his power back.

Sif uses the Norn Stones to whisk them to where Thor is. Bill approaches the Viking ship alone, and of course Valkyrie isn't there. The 2 warriors meet on the surface of the planetoid. Bill claims to be here because he's worried about him. He admits that Sif brought him, and Thor immediately accuses them of conspiring with Odin. He tells Bill to tell the All-Father to back off, and hits his friend to make the point.

Bill continues to plead his case even as he reluctantly fights back and gains the upper hand with Mjolnir trapped under his foot. But the Asgardian just continues the battle with his fists until he gets the hammer back and strikes the ground with it, releasing magma. More blows are traded as Bill tells Thor he's gone mad, but Thor counters that he now sees clearly for the 1st time that Bill has always been his enemy, as he calls the lightning down on him. Bill protests his innocence, but Thor reminds him how Odin allowed Bill to steal Mjolnir from him (#337-339). The last of Thor's furious blows with his hammer sends unconscious Bill soaring into space.

Sif now fears the worst - Thor has succumbed to Warrior Madness. She too tries to talk to him, but seeing his ferocious stare she teleports away with the Stones.

We see Valkyrie again. She praises Thor for his victory. Sif will now tell Odin that his son is no longer his thrall. He now listens only to his own mind (which is true given that Val is a figment of his imagination).

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Bruce Zick
Mike DeCarlo
Tom Vincent
Bruce Zick (Cover Penciler)
Mike DeCarlo (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Mike Heisler.
Editor: Mike Rockwitz. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


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